Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa spent the night in police custody over the violence that broke out at Ganda ward in Malindi on Tuesday evening.
A man was shot in the shoulder and killed during the chaos and several other people, including police officers, were injured. Jumwa had stormed a meeting organised by Reuben Katana, an ODM candidate in Thursday’s by-election.
Gumbao Jola, 48, died upon arrival at Malindi General Hospital. He was Katana’s uncle.
The MP arrived at the meeting in a convoy of three vehicles. Thereafter, chaos erupted and police officers were forced to shoot in the air several times. The lawmaker is the chief campaigner for independent candidate Abdulrahman Omar, according to her lawyer Jared Magolo.
The MP, whom the police described as confrontational and fond of making inciteful statements in public, accused Katana of campaigning long after the campaign window period had been closed.
Katana was hosting more than 500 people at his home. Jumwa and her bodyguard, Geoffrey Otieno, are suspects in Jola’s murder.
The two were arrested on Wednesday at 1.50am, taken to Port police station in Mombasa before they were arraigned at 2.30pm, her lawyer said. Initially, there were reports that four people had been arrested, but only two were arraigned.
Jumwa and her bodyguard were, however, not charged as assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Alloys Kemo applied to have them detained for 21 more days, pending investigations.
In a sworn affidavit, Kemo said the police want to hold the MP and her bodyguard as they investigate four charges — murder, incitement to violence, breach of Election Offences Act and breach of electoral code of conduct.
“Police have intelligence that the first respondent’s (Jumwa’s) agents are planning to disrupt the Ganda by-election tomorrow. They are regrouping at Takaungu,” Kemo said.
He added that security agents at the coast cannot guarantee the security of Jumwa and her bodyguard because the Malindi residents are baying for their blood.
“A large crowd gathered at Malindi police station on Tuesday night chanting that they want to avenge the death of Gumbao Jola. The two should be detained because the situation in Malindi is tense and volatile,” Kemo said.
He added the police need enough time to conduct an autopsy on the body and carry out a ballistic investigation on the firearm used to kill Jola.
“Police also need to find out if the second respondent (Jumwa’s body guard) is a licensed gun holder. A ballistic investigation will be conducted on the gun and the bullet cartridges that were recovered today at 2am,” he said.
However, Jumwa’s lawyer Magolo described the DPP’s application as “hopeless.”
“The application is actually crying for dismissal. This court should not agree to be allowed to take sides in an election contest.
“We know there are people who want to take away Jumwa from Malindi because she is the chief agent of a candidate in Ganda’s by-election,” Magolo said, adding the DPP is dishonest in his submission.
“They have admitted that was an illegal gathering. It was taking place after the official closure of campaign period. Jumwa is an MP and a chief agent of a candidate in that election and had gone to seek answers, but she was then attacked,” Magolo said.
Jumwa is represented by four lawyers in the case. Her second lawyer, Gikandi Ngubuini said the are no records to show that Jumwa is confrontational.
“No records have been produced to show the first respondent has ever been found guilty of incitement. No evidence has been filed in this court from any person to show that once the MP is released there would be violence in Ganda,” Ngubuini said.
On Wednesday evening, Mombasa senior resident magistrate Vincent Andet said he would make a ruling on whether to release Jumwa on bail or continue holding her as requested by the DPP today.
“It’s already late in the evening and I’ve not been able to go through all the submissions. I would request that I deliver a ruling tomorrow (Thursday) at 8.30am,” Andet said.
According to Jumwa, the meeting was aimed at planning violence against her supporters with a view to ensure her candidate loses.
`The embattled legislator has been branded a rebel and ousted out of Raila Odinga’s party for supporting Deputy President William Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid.